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  • Ty Rostvedt

Everything Is Meaningless

Did you know that? Everything is meaningless. The alarm clock that woke you up this morning: meaningless. The texts and Facebook feed you checked after that: meaningless. Your brushed teeth, combed hair, and nice shirt: All meaningless. You know, you’re just going to do all that stuff all over again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and… well, at least life has donuts.

If you were to stop and reflect about the transience of life it can be depressing. One day all of your accomplishments will be forgotten just like all of the people who have lived before us. I just threw away a bunch of cassette tapes of old recorded sermons from years ago. I’m sure the men speaking on those tapes spent a lot of time on those messages. Sorry, guys. I’ve got to make room for something else on my bookshelf that will be thrown away in 20 years.

This is how the book of Ecclesiastes begins: “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!” The author goes on to explain how the wind blows wherever it wants with seemingly no purpose. Oh, the pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, well, that’s meaningless too. The author of Ecclesiastes tells of how he tried to live a fulfilling life. He had lots of wine, lots of workers, and lots of women! After considering everything he owned and everything he accomplished, the author is nearing the end of his life and claims it was all a waste, like trying to grab the wind or like trying to pick up toys when your kids are still awake.

So, how do you feel about this? Do you agree with this assessment of life? Is there any hope to find meaning in a potentially meaningless world?

Many people have tried to find meaning in different ways. I heard an atheist say that one can find perfect satisfaction in life by simply enjoying the present moment. They might tell you to just appreciate your own consciousness. Okay, that sounds good, but how can you enjoy life if you are suffering, or if you’ve lost something precious to you, or if COVID-19 won’t go away?

The author of Ecclesiastes does have more to say than just “everything is meaningless.” He eventually brings God into the picture. He discovered that a life with God is the only way that one can find true purpose in the midst of a lurking death. If there is no God, how can you know for sure that anything you are doing is worthwhile? Our author asks, “for apart from God, who can eat or who can have enjoyment?” (Ecclesiastes 2:25) Great question because without God, what is the point of life?

I enjoy the book of Ecclesiastes for its honesty. It tells it like it is. Death is coming, but yet with God, we can find purpose and enjoyment in life today. We should enjoy life. This present moment is really all you have. Strive to please God. Do you start each day asking God to give you guidance on His will for your life? Or do you have no concern for His will for your life and presume to manage fine on your own? God can redeem your time and bring fulfillment no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re farming, or filling prescriptions, or telling your child, “No, you may not hang upside down from the ceiling fan.” Everything we do can be done for the glory of God. Even the hard times can have a purpose. And now that I think about it, I’ll bet those messages on those tapes really meant a lot to the people who originally heard them, and they served their purpose at that time. Now it is my turn to pursue God’s will for my life. No, not everything is meaningless, just a life spent apart from God.

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